Lee Bowyer: We can compete

Lee Bowyer is expecting for his team to match Fulham when Blues welcome the side placed second in the Sky Bet Championship to St. Andrew's on Wednesday night.

The Cottagers visit B9 for the second time in less than a month after August's Carabao Cup meeting and, having lost just once in all competitions this term, will prove a good test for Blues.

But the hosts lie just two points behind Marco Silva's men in the early-season standings and the Head Coach is confident that his side will be capable of collecting the maximum, as they look to go four unbeaten in the league.

Speaking to the media at Wast Hills Training Ground, Bowyer expressed great confidence in his players as well as assessing what will be in store from the opposition in the face of another partisan B9 crowd.

He said: “I’d like to think, no matter what team we step out against, we can compete. We won’t be fearing Fulham, we will respect them because they are a good side, but we will make it as difficult as we can for Fulham to leave with any points.

“Fulham are a good side, their strength in depth is frightening. That said, we are at home, we have the fans behind us and we will go out and give everything to get a good result.

“They move the ball well, all the players are confident in taking the ball and playing, their front five are very good and can punish you. They have got good quality, especially in the final third. Fulham are a real footballing team with Premier League quality in their side.”

The midweek encounter gives Blues a chance to build on Friday night's victory over Derby County, one that was witnessed by an increased capacity and was the perfect return from the campaign's first international break.

Reflecting on the well-earned success over the Rams and the influence of Bluenoses, Bowyer told reporters: "[We are] very happy to get our first win at home in front of our fans, it was a really professional performance. I was very pleased with how we played.

“The fans have made a massive impact, you could tell with the noise on Friday what a difference they can make. It was great to see everyone back together, the appreciation between the fans and players when celebrating at the end. It was a good moment.”

An already vocal crowd turned up the volume after 31 minutes when Scott Hogan hit his first goal on home soil this term, expertly hooking the ball past Kelle Roos for his third counter in six outings.

But the Boss was also keen to emphasise the value of his frontman's all-round efforts, both against Wayne Rooney's team and in every game to date.

Bowyer explained to the media: "He says he feels the fittest he has felt in years and is in a good place. He feels he could have had a couple more goals but as long as he keeps getting in the right position's [I know] he will score goals.

"I think it's important that when we get chances are strikers are in the right position to take them and Scotty is certainly doing that."

The forward department is just one area where competition for places is at a premium, with Blues enhancing their squad to a total of nine new arrivals during the summer.

This includes between the sticks and the Gaffer was keen to identify the displays of loanee Matija Sarkic after the Montenegrin recorded clean sheet number four of his Blues career last time out.

Bowyer said: “Matty has been very good, when you bring a new player in they are always out to be judged at the start.

Andy Marshall has done a great job with him, working hard with him. I am pleased for Matty, he has stepped up and he has really helped us out. He is improving every week.”

Bowyer also spoke further with BluesTV at Monday's press conference and you hear more of his pre-game thoughts below.